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A hearing in Lewisville, TX, to decide whether or not there should be a half-cent sales tax increase to fund a sports arena drew a "standing-room only" crowd Tuesday night. The vote, which will take place on January 21, calls for a raise in sales tax from 7.25% to 7.75% to fund a $40M bond issue for a sports arena. The arena will be built only if the city of Dallas fails to negotiate a deal to keep the Mavericks (Kim North, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/11). On Wednesday, "several members" of the Dallas City Council said "they were angry with the Stars for helping fund" the Lewisville campaign. A memo was sent to City Attorney Sam Lindsay asking what legal action could be taken against the Stars if they "opt not to play at Reunion Arena." Stars President Jim Lites: "We're just trying to protect our own interests" (Sylvia Martinez, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/12).
The King County Stadium Alternatives Task Force met Wednesday in Seattle and "endorsed a new home for the Mariners." The plan calls for "35% to 45% financing by private money and the rest from a combination of user taxes" -- such as admission fees, car-rental taxes, and a tax on alcohol and tobacco. But before the vote could be cast, Ron Sims, Vice Chair of the County Council's Fiscal Management Committee, said that any increase in tax "should be approved at the polls." Other county officials agreed saying that although people want the Mariners to stay, it's going to take a lot of public support. Within the next week King County Exec Gary Locke will put together a "meeting of political leaders" from the County Council, Seattle City Council, state Legislature and Governor's office. Locke "acknowledged a major selling job will be required to convince legislators the state should support the stadium plan." The Mariners have said that "unless ground is broken for a new stadium by 1996, they will not sign a new lease to keep the team in Seattle." The team's current lease at the Kingdome expires in '96 (Bill Knight, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 1/12).
The Nuggets announced an agreement with the city of Denver yesterday to build a "privately financed $132 million state-of- the-art downtown arena." Construction is scheduled to begin in May so that the arena will be finished in time for the start of the '97-'98 NBA season. It will be located about five minutes from the Nuggets current home, McNichols Arena. As part of the plan, COMSAT Corp., owner of the Nuggets, will build a $20M TV and film production studio next to the arena in partnership with Denver-based TCI. The deal is pending approval from Denver City Council and COMSAT's board of directors (Thomas Heath, WASHINGTON POST, 1/13).
A report due to be released today commissioned by the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp on the proposed Redskins stadium in Laurel, MD, concludes that the stadium "would generate $8.4 million a year in state and Anne Arundel County taxes -- enough to pay for required roads, sewer and water lines with enough left over to build a new elementary school every year or hire more than 80 additional police officers" (John Morris, Baltimore SUN, 1/13).